Washington The White House called for a “simple up-or-down” vote on health care legislation Sunday as Speaker Nancy Pelosi appealed to House Democrats to get behind President Barack Obama’s chief domestic priority even it if threatens their political careers.
In voicing support for a simple majority vote, White House health reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle signaled Obama’s intention to push the Democratic-crafted bill under Senate rules that would overcome GOP stalling tactics.
Republicans unanimously oppose the Democratic proposals. Without GOP support, Obama’s only chance of emerging with a policy and political victory is to bypass the bipartisanship he promoted during his televised seven-hour health care summit Thursday.
DeParle was optimistic that the president would have the votes to pass the massive bill. But none of legislation’s advocates who spoke on Sunday indicated that those votes were in hand.
In a sober call to arms, Pelosi said lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public. “We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”